Safety in Manufacturing

Why does Safety in Manufacturing Require a Personal Connection?

Author : John Stevenson


If we go back 30-35 years and look at the way safety was implemented then, we can say it was not only implemented from the top down but also it was very much scripted. In some ways, learning and interaction were not set to take place together. Learning techniques were far from being highly touchable. For the most part, they were one-way bound. The best safety understanding involves learning from a visual, auditory, and tactile way.


Make Safety Training Interactive

Too often safety training is limited to the classroom with a speaker and listeners. The classroom should only be one part of the safety engagement. In Milliken plants, safety training extends onto the manufacturing floor. Common visual indicators include markings on the equipment reminding of potential hazards or recent incidents. The markings take different shapes or color based on severity or type of incident and discussed during start-up meetings. While the marking are important reminders of the incident, it is even more important to remember that the health and well-being of colleagues are impacted.


Create a Personal Connection

Relating incidents to personal well-being is another effective method to make safety highly touchable. One method is with a human-size cut out or life-size mannequin to show the body parts that have been affected by incidents. Some teams use different color band-aids to differentiate between near misses and first aids. They are great visuals and they can be used during interactive awareness activities. An activity to get associates to make that connection between safety and their personal lives is when they are tasked to bring a picture that represents the reason they work safely. “I work safely because…” is the theme for a Safety Communication board. The board is filled with pictures of mom, dad, grandma, pets, cars, or bikes. The personal connection between workplace safety and home is the ultimate purpose of the board.


Incorporate Real World Examples

In an effort to decrease teenage drunk driving, smashed automobiles from real accidents are prominently displayed at entrances to high school parking lots. The same method can be used to effectively make safety highly touchable. One such example included a stage of a real plant incident. A blind-spot resulted in a forklift striking a walking associate. The scene was set up on the plant floor at the main employee entrance. The staged display was designed for shock and was successful. Sometimes the stark reality of injury severity can be a motivator for increased safety vigilance.

These are only a few examples of making safety highly touchable. Others include personal testimonies, video stories, hands-on demonstrations, activities that ask for simple tasks with an injury, and additional plant visuals. The ideas should be part of an overall plan to increase safety engagement.


9 Manufacturing Safety Tips